Solace Sowah | Opinion | Thursday 21 July 2016 | GMT 16:35 | @Solace_Sowah
It annoys me when the statement “all lives matter” is mordantly shouted after someone says “black lives matter”. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t because the first statement is incorrect, but rather because it misses the true meaning of Black lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter was a movement which started because – especially in America – it’s clear that black lives don’t matter. The movement does not mean that a black man’s life is of any higher status than the white man’s or Hispanic’s. But I would say that the movement highlights the fact that all lives matter. I say this because I believe that in order for Black Lives Matter to say a black man’s life is as important as the white man’s, they must first acknowledge the importance and sacred nature of the white man’s life.
So the movement “black lives matter” isn’t us (speaking as a young black female) saying, our lives are better than yours (i.e. everyone not black), but it’s almost a lamentation of pain saying: “Realise our lives are just as important.” Now after the two recent police shootings of innocent black men in America, I had a conversation with someone who wrote on their Snapchat story “All Lives Matter”. We discussed what was occurring in America, and generally there was a consensus between us while conversing. But one thing that really irritated me was when this person said: “There’s a lot more shootings on white people than black.”
Now for me again, this statement is another example of how people are missing the big picture. Black Lives Matter isn’t about the police killing more black people than white people, but it’s about the police killing black people unjustly. Just imagine: you’ve asked a man to take out his ID. He has made it known to you that he’s carrying a firearm (which under the 2nd Amendment he has the right to do so), but as he gets his ID out to show you, he is shot not once, twice, or three times but four, with his girlfriend and daughter in the car. Now tell me how that’s fair? Does the ratio of black to white deaths really matter at this point when injustice is the problem?
A coloured man is convicted for the colour of his skin, something he can’t change – so the questions I ask are: is it just? Is it right? Would this happen to a white man? Now interestingly enough, although it is true that more white people die from firearm related incidents in America, if we look at the statistics, we see there’s a much bigger picture to be painted. Following data from MappingPoliceViolence.org, it showed that unarmed black people were killed 5x the rate of unarmed white men in 2015. This is what Black Lives Matter is about – the injustice within the system. You can’t seriously say that with unarmed black men dying at a faster rate than their white counterparts, there is no injustice taking place. The statistics scream injustice!
In my opinion, Black Lives Matter is about bringing justice to those who have had their loved ones snatched away from them simply based on the colour of their skin. To say “all lives matter” is true, but is it the reality? It baffles as me to why skin colour is such a big issue, that the colour of people is the difference between justice and injustice, the difference between being shot once to being shot four times. But I suppose, this is the harsh reality we live in. But please just remember that black lives do matter…